Summer is a popular time for people to head outside and start planting. The sun’s shining, and the air is warm, so why not go ahead and plant those daisies?
But hold on — there is actually one important step that’s easy to miss before you start gardening. You need to test your soil.
What You Should Know
Just by taking a few minutes to test the pH of your soil, you’ll learn what amendments and fertilizers your plants are going to need. For instance, for optimal plant growth, your soil may require more sodium, calcium, phosphorus and potassium — all essential plant nutrients. A soil test can tell you just how your soil measures up.
You can find out from your state’s soil testing lab how much a test will cost you, but the average soil test runs about $25. If you search around online, though, you can find some a bit cheaper. Just be careful to do research on what brand you’re getting. You want to make sure your test comes back as accurate as possible.
When you’re done testing, you’ll have an accurate measurement of what’s in your soil, and you can go from there straight to the store to start preparing a healthy home for your plants.
Tips for Testing
Whether you do your soil test at home or get results back from a lab, the results may be hard to understand. Before you try deciphering them for yourself, compare the results to an accurate pH and plant nutrient chart. Once you look at both your results and the chart, read up on what the numbers mean and how to improve your soil based on texture and type.
Before long, you’ll be a soil testing pro. Your plants will thank you, and so will your wallet!
Bobbi is a sustainability and green-living writer. She also frequently writes on her blog, Living Life Green. Find her on:
To grow a Garden is to believe in Tomorrow
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